Two months after high school graduation, I came to the big city to study art. On the first day of art school, I had a life drawing class. Only 17, I initially felt quite overwhelmed by the whole experience but also knew at once that I loved it.

Quick contour drawing
of curves and folds of skin 
Professors chanted an unrelenting mantra: 
"if you can draw the human body, you can draw anything!" 

That suited me just fine. I liked curved angles and folds of skin. Straight lines were for those enamoured of technical drawing.

In the final year of my BFA, I had a class taught by Philip Surrey, a wonderful man who was extremely astute and knowledgeable. His approach to life drawing was different from all the other profs.

Initially he had us draw various poses on large sheets of newsprint. We then copied the outlines of our most complex drawings on equally large tracing paper. Once 2 tracings per drawing were done, we had to render accurate anatomy within the outlines, one of the skeleton, the other, muscles. I did this for an entire semester swearing quietly under my breath the entire time.

It was arduous, especially when poses were in deep perspective. Surprisingly, after a few weeks of frustration and much repetition, I developed a liking and respect for our insides, particularly bones. Because of Surrey's approach, my understanding of the human body and the quality of my drawings improved exponentially. 

Model study in Conté à Paris
Model study in Conté à Paris: bones are 
lightly suggested on the legs and at the ankle

Bones and muscles remain part of my visual vocabulary.  We are beautiful complex beings, inside and out. 

Sadly, Philip Surrey committed suicide in 1990. I am grateful that he crossed my path long enough to share his wisdom.